Personality Disorder Treatment
Before we discuss treatment, please remember that the authors of Out of the FOG are not licensed mental health professionals or affiliated with any licensed medical organization. We are not qualified to prescribe or dispense medications or treatment. Always consult with a qualified mental health professional and/or physician before attempting any treatment regime. This page is purely based on our own experiences and research. Read our Disclaimer.
There is no cure, but there is treatment and recovery
Unfortunately, when it comes to personality disorders, there is no known cure. However, a broad array of interventions, treatments, therapies, coping and management strategies do exist, some of which have been shown to make a difference.
Barriers to Effective Treatment
Lots of misconceptions and false assumptions can stand in the way of recovery or lead to a "fake" recovery - where there are words and actions but no sustainable or lasting change. Fake recoveries can lead to to disappointment, frustration and mistrust.
Here are some of the more common barriers to successful "real" recovery.
Professional Avoidance - a common reluctance among mental health providers to diagnose individuals whom they suspect may suffer from a personality disorder.
Fake Recoveries - Not all recoveries in personality-disordered individuals are "fake" - and not all recoveries are "real".
Placebo Effect - The Placebo Effect is when a medical patient responds to a "placebo" or nonexistent medicine, but believing that the medicine is real, starts to feel better or reports an improvement in their symptoms.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc - The "Post hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy is a common mistake in the diagnosis and treatment of medical and psychological conditions. "Post hoc ergo propter hoc" is Latin for "After this, therefore because of this" or in other words "If A happened then B happened, then A must have caused B to happen".
Cum hoc ergo propter hoc - "Cum hoc ergo propter hoc" is Latin for "with this, therefore because of this" or, in other words "A and B happen at the same time, therefore A must be causing B to happen". The "cum hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy is a common mistake in the diagnosis and treatment of medical and psychological conditions.
Hoovers & Hoovering - A Hoover is a metaphor taken from the popular brand of vacuum cleaners, to describe how an abuse victim trying to assert their own rights by leaving or limiting contact in a dysfunctional relationship, gets “sucked back in” when the perpetrator temporarily exhibits improved or desirable behavior.
Elements of a Successful Recovery
Just as it is important to understand that not everything that looks like a recovery is a real recovery, it is equally important to understand that not all attempts at recovery are false.
Many people with Personality Disorders have successfully struggled with their condition, harnessed their behaviors and are worthy of great respect for doing so.
Most successful recoveries for a person who suffers from a personality disorder exhibit the following components:
Acknowledging the Problem - As with many things in life, acknowledging that there is a problem is often the first step in recovery - and sometimes the most difficult.
Longevity - Because of the rapid, dramatic mood swings that personality-disordered individuals sometimes experience, it can be difficult to tell whether a change in their behavior is evidence of a substantial improvement or just part of the normal up and down of their feelings.
Self-Work The second necessary ingredient of real recovery in a personality-disordered individual is self-work.
Yielding Control - One of the necessary ingredients for recovery of a personality-disordered individual - and perhaps one of the most difficult, is to relinquish control of the relationship and to give the Non-PD back control over their own life.
Here are some descriptions of some of the more commonly used treatment tools in a clinical setting.
Counseling and Therapy
Individual Therapy - the most common form of psychotherapy
Couple's Therapy & Family Counseling - therapy involving two or more people from a relationship or family.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy - Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a psychosocial treatment which combines intensive individual and group therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - a structured form of therapy based on the belief that thoughts - not outside circumstances - control feelings and behaviors.
EMDR - EMDR is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a psychological technique sometimes used in the treatment of post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Anger Management - Anger Management is a term that describes a broad array of approaches that are on offer to assist an individual in reducing the intensity of their angry feelings or to control their outward expressions of anger.
SSRI's - Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
SNRI's Serotonin Norepinephrine Re-uptake Inhibitors
Bupropion increases the levels of two neurotransmitters - norepinephrine and dopamine - in the brain.
Tricyclics - Tricyclics work by blocking the re-uptake absorption of two neurotransmitters - norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain.
MAOI's - Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors increase levels of neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the brain.